It’s that time of year again and winter snow sports are just around the corner. Here is a simple training program that you can do to prepare your body to be quick and agile and avoid injuries on those slick surfaces.
It’s About Connection—Muscles + Mind
The goal with pre-season training is to train your brain and muscles to work together. Much of it has to do with wiring, or connectivity between your muscles and your mind, to enhance spatial awareness. Thus, you are increasing power and sharpening your body’s response time through practicing simple drills over and over.
It’s About Quickness
The key is to practice movements that require quick movements that have you accelerating and decelerating while moving in directions that your body was built for—moving forward, backward, laterally, diagonally—improving power and neuromuscular firing patterns. The same movements that you’ll be making on the slopes, over the tracks, and on the ice.
It’s About Scheduling
Before you begin your pre-season program, you’ll want to put together a simple training schedule.
Weeks 1 thru 3 work on movement patterns
Weeks 4 thru 6+ lace in speed, quickness and agility
The Drills—Warm up
Begin every session with a warm up that consists of 8-10 minutes of light jogging, following by joint rotations and light stretches for tight spots.
Warm up drills: Perform each two to three times for approximately 4-6 minutes.
• Slow lateral shuffle—shuffle sideways for 30 seconds in each direction
• Backwards-to-forward jog—30 seconds per direction
• Diagonal strides—lightly spring from foot-to-foot moving forward
Intervals – Perform drills 3 to 4 times each
(30-60 seconds per drill with active recovery in between)
• Diagonal Hops
Bound along from side-to-side in a zigzag formation. Hop diagonally, along an imaginary line. Vary your hops—single leg, double leg, height, and distance—placing emphasis on landing softly and absorbing with your muscles.
• Four Corner Drill
Take four cones or any type of marker, such as a branch and make a square 10 yards apart, and place a ball or any other object in the middle. Run from the corner to the ball on the inside, back to the same corner, then up to the next corner. Repeat. Time yourself, or do the drill with a friend.
• Big “T” Drill
Make a “T” as big as you’d like with cones; then, facing the “T” shuffle laterally to the right across the top of the “T,” when you get to the end, take a step forward, and shuffle left, to the middle, run forward to the bottom of the “T,” then, shuffle backward up, along the base of the “T,” and finish by shuffling left, back to the start. Repeat 5-10 times.
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• Before starting an interval program, be sure that you have a moderate base of strength, cardiovascular health, and flexibility.
• Always give your body and brain a proper warm up.
• Give yourself 30-60 seconds of active recovery between drills.
• Work on quality of movement and body control.